Central Europe Discovery: 4th of July in Budapest

Update from Bus A

Our bus ride to Budapest was a true adventure! We ran into construction, traffic jams, and more, but all of us were in high spirits as we rolled into our second city. The first day we walked up to Fisherman’s Bastion for gorgeous, panoramic views of the city, which led into dinner and a relaxed evening at the hotel.

Our full day in Budapest was a blast! We began the morning at the Shoe Memorial on the Danube River which honors the Hungarian Jews killed there during WWII. Our staff member Cory told a powerful story about how his own great grandmother was executed at that spot. Our teens were able to connect strongly to this piece of history through that personal connection, including Leo B., Plymouth, MN, who said, “The most interesting part of Budapest was the shoe memorial. I knew about it but it was completely different being there. It was also interesting seeing how all this happened in the middle of a city. I thought the story was very interesting because it was a story of someone in the groups and it took place right where we were standing.”

After the shoe memorial, we set off on our waking tour of Budapest which included Parliament, the American Embassy, and the Ronald Reagan statue. We spent the afternoon grabbing lunch at the famous covered market and hanging out at the Szechenyi Thermal Bath. Mollie S., Atlanta, GA, told us, “The baths were a ton of fun because it was a giant hot tub! We also had a  cultural experience talking to locals and trying to communicate in other languages.”As evening set in, we visited the famous Dohany Street Synagogue and learned more about the current local Jewish community. 

At dinner, we hosted a Fourth of July celebration with hamburgers and sparklers! Max G., Overland Park, KS, mentioned that, “It was awesome that the staff went out of their way to make our 4th of July special by bringing sparklers to dinner.” 

We finished off the night with a fabulous river cruise viewing all the skylines of Buda and Pest (Fun fact: Did you know Buda and Pest are technically two cities?)! 

Update Bus B

Wednesday, we had a longer than expected bus ride, but it turned out to be a lot of fun because we played “Bus B’s Got Talent,” Hot Seat and other small group ice breakers! We bonded as a bus and have established ourselves a community!Thursday morning, we started our day by remembering the Hungarians that were killed by the Nazis at the Danube River. We walked through the lobby of the Parliament Building to Freedom Square. For lunch, we ate authentic Hungarian food at a local market and shopped. We had the chance to experience thermal baths and soak in the sun! Next, we went to the 3rd largest synagogue in the world. The teens were in awe by the beauty. We ended our short time in Budapest by enjoying the beautiful sights on a river boat cruise down the Danube River. We are looking forward to a meaningful Shabbat in Krakow! 

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